Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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What Are Vaccine Passports?
Online conversation abounds regarding the heavily debated topic — vaccine passports — and their use from international travel to sporting events to concerts.
But what exactly is a vaccine passport? It’s essentially proof of vaccination, either physical (such as your vaccination card) or digital (via an app). The most pressing question at hand: should they be required or not?
The vaccine rollout in the U.S. prompted numerous discussions among Americans about how to identify who has and has not been vaccinated, or if we even should. After over a year of COVID-19 and its related restrictions on travel and events, we decided to survey people on their attitudes towards proposed vaccine passports and their thoughts on travel in different scenarios.
Read on to find out if the general public is for or against these vaccine passports, and under what circumstances they’d feel comfortable traveling again.
In order to gain the data presented throughout this study, we ran a survey of nearly 1,000 U.S. citizens across a range of demographics from June 2 to 3, 2021. We asked them about their preferences and opinions regarding travel and COVID-19 vaccine passports. Vaccine passports were defined as “a document proving you have been vaccinated against COVID-19.”
Almost three-quarters of respondents have heard of the term vaccine passport before, and 82% say they support the notion. Vaccine passports have been in the news since vaccinations began to roll out, so it comes as no surprise that a majority of respondents have at least heard of the term before.
Of all the generations we surveyed, baby boomers are the least likely to support vaccine passports (77%). This may be due to the fact that some believe it would unfairly deny unvaccinated people access to events or services. In fact, 61% of respondents believe vaccine passports will infringe on the rights of unvaccinated individuals. Healthcare inequity, data privacy, and forgeries are other challenges that have arisen among older generations.
Will Vaccine Passports Encourage Non-Vaccinated Individuals To Get the Vaccine?
Overall, vaccine passports as a requirement mean unvaccinated respondents are more likely to get the COVID-19 vaccine. However, if passports were required for sitting indoors at a restaurant, 17% of respondents say they would be less likely to get the vaccine. Perhaps they feel that bringing these restrictions further into everyday life would be taking things too far? Much debate has surfaced around the ethics and logistics of providing proof of vaccination, but under what circumstances does the general public think providing proof should be required?
Providing Proof of Vaccination
55% of respondents say airlines, hotels, and travel companies should require proof of vaccination, while 74% agree that proof of vaccination should be required in order to fly on an airplane. Being in close quarters with fellow travelers for extended periods of time, it’s easy to understand why a majority of respondents would want assurance that everyone on the plane is vaccinated.
58% of respondents believe that only vaccinated individuals should be able to travel domestically. This finding may be due to the fact that people want to stop the spread of the virus that unvaccinated individuals might not even know they’re carrying. After months of restrictions on travel, the general public clearly wants a guarantee of safety in all regards.
Comfortability With Maskless Travel
Overall, many respondents would not be comfortable with maskless travel without proof their fellow travelers have been vaccinated. Understandably, only 37% of respondents would feel comfortable maskless on a plane without knowing everyone’s vaccination status. 42% of respondents would feel uncomfortable utilizing any modes of transport without a mask if they didn’t know the other passengers’ vaccination status.
A majority of respondents (58% on average) even agree that planes, trains, buses, and cruise ships should have separate sections for vaccinated versus unvaccinated passengers. Even outside the area of travel, 57% of respondents believe concerts and sporting events should be separated by vaccination status, and that ticket-sellers for those types of events should require proof of vaccination.
After months and months of restrictions, it makes sense that people are ready to travel, get out, and enjoy experiences again — they just want assurance that those experiences will be safe for all.
With the stressors of the past year and a half, it’s safe to say we could all use a vacation. Whenever you’re comfortable with traveling again, Upgraded Points has your back with comprehensive travel and hotel guides to help you have the best possible trip.
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